DAY 873: In Trying to Process the Attack in a Jerusalem Synagogue

November 20, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 873: In Trying to Process the Attack in a Jerusalem Synagogue


Most, if not all of us, are aware of the terrible crime committed the other day in a synagogue in Jerusalem. Terrorists murdered a group of Jewish worshippers while the worshippers were standing in the opposite direction — to the east — to davven the Amidah, a prayer recited by all Jews everywhere around the world. The symbolism of this horrible moment in an increasingly devastating conflict couldn’t be more acute. The davveners were facing towards the center of Jewish worship — the Temple Mount — while their murderers attacked in response to purported fears that Jews wanted to take over the Temple Mount for Jewish worship. Despite occasional flare-ups, the fact that Jews pray towards the Temple Mount and Muslims pray on the Temple Mount has been accepted as (an albeit tenuous) reality. Yet, it seems increasingly clear that this reality is becoming shattered to be replaced by a new reality for the conflict as a whole, in which the conflict is become less nationalist and more religious. And a more religious conflict between Jews and Muslims is particularly dire because, in the words of Justice Minister Tzipi Livini: “a religious war cannot be solved.”

There is much to be shared and discussed about this latest episode of the current conflict, and over the next few days we will do so as a community.

For instance, TONIGHT at 7:30 we have Dr. (Rabbi) David Kraemer’s lecture on “Why Jews Bless Food.” We will dedicate this simple mitzvah of Jewish learning in our synagogue to the Jewish men murdered for performing the mitzvah of Jewish worship in their synagogue.

On Friday night, we will discuss the particular event in more detail with an open forum for us to share our reactions to the latest attack in the synagogue and, most importantly, how we can channel those reactions to do some good in the world.

On Saturday morning, we will share what we learned from Friday night, but we will also use the opportunity to honor the memory of those slain during the recitation of the Amidah by studying the Amidah together and understanding its teachings for us in this difficult moment.

These actions by our community are not meant to change the reality on the ground but simply to process what has happened and to fulfill the words of our synagogue president who texted me after the brutal attack — may their souls be blessed and remembered always.

May our learning, our sharing, and our actions truly bless their souls.

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Ari Saks

Photo taken from —,7340,L-4593583,00.html

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